Cocoa: Ghana’s slowdown will not impact world production

Ghana’s expected underperformance for the 2018/19 cocoa season is not expected to change the International Cocoa Organization’s (ICCO) forecast, which still expects world production to reach 4.8 million tonnes over the period.

Ghana had anticipated a production of 900 000 tonnes - the same as in the previous season - but finally revised it down in April to around 850 000 tonnes due to swollen shoot - a cocoa virus disease - and a lack of rain. In response to this situation, Ghana’s marketing board, the Cocobod, has launched a programme to dig up infected trees and replant the 400,000 hectares affected by the disease. Confident, however, ICCO believes that these difficulties will not fundamentally impact the overall prospects for cocoa production. « We are at the end of the first part of the season. We do not have all the data, but we believe that some declines in Ghana could be offset by increased production elsewhere, such as in Côte d’Ivoire, » ICCO Director Michel Arrion said at a press conference held Wednesday at the structure’s headquarters in Abidjan. Côte d’Ivoire’s production, the world’s leading producer of brown beans, is expected to reach 2.2 million tonnes this season.

Distribution in % of world cocoa production (2017)
The International Cocoa Organization (ICOO)

In addition, the international organization recalled that it was satisfied with the significant increase in global cocoa processing in the first quarter of 2019, driven by strong demand from the chocolate industry. For Michel Arrion, grindings should « remain at high levels using this year’s production, but also existing stocks ». In February, ICCO forecast a world cocoa surplus of 39,000 tonnes for the 2019/20 season.